Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Apples :: Northern Spy

Late Season • Sweet-tart • Heirloom

Northern Spy apples at market.
Early October

Lively sweet-tart flavor. Fine-grained, firm and crisp. A wonderful all-purpose apple, great for fresh eating and cooking. Cider makers love it and it makes an exceptional pie, as it retains its texture. The skin color develops poorly in the shade, but in the sun develops pink and red striping. This is one of the most famous of all American apples and a well-renowned Maine favorite.

Originating from the farm of Oliver Chapin, Rochester, New York, circa 1840, brought into production many years later. Herman Chapin grew the first tree, circa 1800, which died before production, but not before Oliver took some root cuttings from it.

Offspring: Keepsake, Ontario, Prairie Spy, Sandow, Sweet Sixteen.

Parentage: Unknown. Perhaps a connection to Spitzenburg.

Exceptional keeper.

Northern Spy is very slow to bear, taking up to ten years to produce. It is unknown where the name came from, but it is speculated that it came from a dime-store novel called The Northern Spy, which was about a a "Northern Spy" who helped slaves escape on the underground railroad.

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